Tony Morris, the man at the centre of the £52m GP Noble pension scheme fraud trial, began giving evidence in his defence yesterday.
Morris, one of the founding directors of financial services consolidation outfit The Money Portal (TMP) denies all allegations of fraud in the ongoing case, brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
A total of £52m was transferred from nine pension schemes under the independent trusteeship of GP Noble, a business which had been bought out by TMP.
Morris is alleged to be a "deeply involved central figure" in the transfers, which saw pension fund assets transferred into foreign bank accounts before being earmarked for risky investment schemes, such as beach front property developments in Thailand. Morries denies the allegations.
The court heard Morris, 49, left school with no qualifications and began work as an insurance policy salesman before moving into the investment advice business.
Morris told the jury his career in financial services developed over the years, with the creation of TMP bringing him the biggest financial success. However, he added while he regularly attended training seminars he never obtained any qualifications in financial services.
The court heard TMP began negotiations to buyout independent trustee firm GP Noble in 2006.
The alleged pension asset transfers then took place in August 2007 and April 2008.
The prosecution claim Morris and his co-defendant Peter Malmstrom, who acted as an investment adviser during the operation, worked together to defraud the pensioners of the affected schemes.
Morris denies all nine charges against him, these include conspiracy to defraud, theft and the aiding and abetting fraud. Malmstrom also denies the charges against him.
The trial continues...
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